CAPE TOWN – If there’s one thing that was evident in Vancouver at the weekend, it’s the quality of players Neil Powell has in his young Blitzbok squad.
It took a while for them to gel, but in the sixth tournament of the 2018-19 World Sevens Series in Canada, it happened. That tournament-winning effort they had hoped for, finally happened.
They looked like a unit - something that had been an issue in the earlier events - and they got it right on attack and defence, while there were also a number of brilliant individual contributions.
The individual contributions of the youngsters - or less-experienced players - were particularly pleasing after the Blitzboks had to bounce back from what you could call a player exodus, with Seabelo Senatla, Ruhan Nel, Kwagga Smith, Tim Agaba, Rosko Specman and Dylan Sage all having left the circuit to pursue their fifteens ambitions.
Selvyn Davids, who went into the Canada leg 10 tournaments young, was instrumental in the Blitzboks’ road to the final.
He was an attacking catalyst as he created opportunities (remember that soccer-like piece of play against Wales?) and also scored crucial tries, most notably against Fiji and France.
He chowed down the BC Place pitch with his running metres, but he also played his part on defence. He had no trouble hitting the black dot from all angles with his conversions either (which helped him become the tournament’s top points-scorer). So it’s no wonder he was named player of the final and made the Vancouver Dream Team.
But for all the good Davids did at the weekend, he refused to take all the credit, of course.
“It was a great feeling to win after so long. It was the first tournament I played in that we’ve won, it was my first final,” Davids said when the team arrived at the Cape Town International Airport yesterday morning.
When asked about the try they scored thanks to that left-foot hook, the one that made sure the ball remained in the field of play after he had chipped the ball forward, Davids jokingly questioned: “Which try was that?”
On a serious note, though, the 24-year-old attributed that skill to their recovery sessions.
"We play a lot of soccer in our flush-out sessions, so I just thought I had to (do) something to keep the ball in the field of play. I don’t know what went through my mind, but it worked, so ja,” Davids said.@WynonaLouw